The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached new highs in 2020.
The increase compared to the previous year was even higher than the average increase in the past ten years, according to a report published on Monday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) a few days before the start of the UN climate conference COP26 in Scotland.
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In view of this development, the achievement of the climate protection goals of the Paris Agreement is seriously jeopardized.
According to the report, the corona crisis does not result in a significant reduction in emissions. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic only temporarily reduced new emissions, but had “no discernible effects” on the amount and increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, the temperature rise at the end of the century will be well above the pre-industrial level set in the Paris Agreement of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius,” said WMO General Secretary Petteri Taalas. “We are still a long way from the goal.”
“Many countries are now setting themselves targets for carbon neutrality, and it is to be hoped that the commitments at COP26 will increase dramatically,” said Taalas, referring to the world climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on Sunday. “We have to rethink industry, the energy sector, transport and our entire way of life.”
At the COP26 negotiations will be held to tighten the previous international climate protection plans. In 2015, more than 190 states agreed in the Paris Agreement to work to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees and a maximum of two degrees. According to the UN, however, the measures announced so far are not sufficient.
The Glasgow conference is now seen as critical to setting international emissions targets to slow global warming. “The necessary changes are economically affordable and technically feasible,” said WMO boss Taalas. “We have no time to lose.”.
The most important greenhouse gas released by human activity is CO2. It is mainly created by burning fossil fuels and during the production of concrete.
In addition, the emission of methane and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) noticeably increases the surface temperature. 60 percent of methane emissions are due to human activity and, in particular, to agriculture. Nitrous oxide is released when using artificial fertilizers.